Corporate Governance


Corporate Governance Principles

Sumitomo Corporation established the "Sumitomo Corporation Corporate Governance Principles" while keeping in mind that our backbone of corporate ethics is in the "Sumitomo's Business Philosophy" and the "Management Principles." "The Sumitomo Corporation Corporate Governance Principles" was established based on our view that the essence of corporate governance is "improving management efficiency" and "maintaining sound management," as well as "ensuring management transparency" to secure the first two. Following the "Sumitomo Corporation Corporate Governance Principles," we are always seeking to establish the most appropriate managerial system for the Company and are continuously improving our corporate governance to realize management that serves the interests of shareholders and all other stakeholders.

Sumitomo Corporation Corporate Governance Principles(PDF/206KB)

System and features of corporate governance

The Company believes that it is the most appropriate system for the Company by securing the effective supervisory and monitoring function of management oversight by electing independent Outside Directors and Outside Audit & Supervisory Board Members and by establishing the Nomination and Remuneration Advisory Committee, comprised mainly of independent Outside Directors, under an audit & supervisory board member system. The Company has elected multiple independent Outside Directors (as of June 24, 2022, the number of independent Outside Directors is five.) with a wealth of experience and a high degree of specialized knowledge and expertise in different fields. This ensures appropriate decision-making in board meetings and further reinforces the oversight function through further diverse perspectives. Also, the Company has established the Nomination and Remuneration Advisory Committee (chaired by an Outside Director) as an advisory body of the Board of Directors in which the majority of members are Outside Directors. This enhances independence, objectivity and transparency of the Board of Directors’ function with respect to nomination and remuneration of Executive Officers. To strengthen the oversight framework from an external perspective, three of five Audit & Supervisory Board Members are the independent Outside Audit & Supervisory Board Members, one is a legal expert (a former Chief Justice of the Osaka High Court), one is a certified public accountant with considerable knowledge of finance and accounting, and the other is a fulltime Audit & Supervisory Board Member of a listed company and has an experience in business management, thereby ensuring an auditing system that incorporates a diversity of perspectives. Furthermore, in addition to attending the Board of Directors Meeting, Audit & Supervisory Board Members are permitted to attend all internal meetings, enabling them to obtain sufficient information essential for auditing. By implementing the measures above, the Company believes that it has developed an effective, enhanced corporate governance system.

Our Medium-Term Management Plan “SHIFT 2023,” which began in fiscal 2021, also includes further enhancement of our corporate governance in its “Management Base Shift” chapter. For the purpose of strengthening functions of the Board of Directors, the Company will make efforts for further improvements of functions for monitoring by the Board of Directors over the execution of operations through effective supervision of key management policies and strategies (allocation of management resources, strategies related to business portfolio, sustainability management, etc.) and improving organizations for further strengthening objectivity of functions of the Board of Directors.

The Company's Corporate Governance System

Corporate Governance Report(PDF/854KB)

Framework for "Improving Management Efficiency" and "Maintaining Sound Management"

Directors and the Board of Directors

Composition of the Board of Directors and Election of Outside Director

To facilitate thorough debate and prompt, rational decision-making, the Board of Directors is composed of an appropriate number of members and diversity is ensured in terms of attributes including experience, knowledge, expertise, and gender. In addition, of the eleven Directors elected, five are Outside Directors with a wealth of experience and a high degree of specialized knowledge and expertise in different fields. This ensures appropriate decision-making in board meetings and further reinforces the oversight function through diverse perspectives. All Outside Directors meet the standards related to independence set by the financial instruments exchange that the Company is listed on, and the Standards for Independence set by Sumitomo Corporation.

Name Reasons for proposing and summary of expected roles
Koji Ishida
since June 2017

< Attendance at Meetings of the Board of Directors in fiscal 2021 >
22 of 22 meetings (100%)
Mr. Ishida has wide-ranging knowledge and a wealth of experience in finance and business management, accumulated through his many years working in important positions in a major financial institution, and serving as a member of the Policy Board at the Bank of Japan, among other roles; he is also honest in character, as well as highly insightful and capable. He will contribute to the Company’s aims of ensuring appropriate decision-making from diverse perspectives in board meetings and further enhancing supervisory functions, and is thus judged to be qualified for the role of Outside Director of the Company and to be able to perform his duties properly in that position. For these reasons, he is appointed as the position of Outside Director. In addition, as Member of the Nomination and Remuneration Advisory Committee, he is also expected to contribute to further enhancing the independence, objectivity and transparency of the nomination and remuneration process for Director, Audit & Supervisory Board Member and executive management.
Kimie Iwata
since June 2018

< Attendance at Meetings of the Board of Directors in fiscal 2021 >
22 of 22 meetings (100%)
Ms. Iwata served in several key positions for many years at the Ministry of Labour (currently Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare), and after retiring from the ministry served in various executive and outside director positions for private companies. Through these and other roles, she has accumulated wide-ranging knowledge and a wealth of experience in business management, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, and diversity, etc.; she is also honest in character, as well as highly insightful and capable. She will contribute to the Company’s aims of ensuring appropriate decision-making from diverse perspectives in board meetings and further enhancing supervisory functions, and is thus judged to be qualified for the role of Outside Director of the Company and to be able to perform her duties properly in that position. For these reasons, she is appointed as the position of Outside Director. In addition, as Chair of the Nomination and Remuneration Advisory Committee, she is also expected to contribute to further enhancing the independence, objectivity and transparency of the nomination and remuneration process for Director, Audit & Supervisory Board Member and executive management.
Hisashi Yamazaki
since June 2018

< Attendance at Meetings of the Board of Directors in fiscal 2021 >
22 of 22 meetings (100%)
Mr. Yamazaki has highly specialized knowledge and a wealth of experience in law based on his career over many years as a judge and attorney at law; he is also honest in character, as well as highly insightful and capable. He will contribute to the Company’s aims of ensuring appropriate decision making from diverse perspectives in board meetings and further enhancing supervisory functions, and is thus judged to be qualified for the role of Outside Director of the Company and to be able to perform his duties properly in that position. For these reasons, he is appointed as the position of Outside Director. He is expected to draw on his experience and knowledge to fulfill the role of ensuring appropriate decision-making by the Board of Directors and further enhancing management supervisory functions.
Akiko Ide
since June 2020
< Attendance at Meetings of the Board of Directors in fiscal 2021 >
22 of 22 meetings (100%)
Ms. Ide served in several key positions for many years at a major telecommunications carrier, working as a group company executive and as a full time audit & supervisory board member of the parent (holding) company. Through these and other roles, she has accumulated wide-ranging knowledge and a wealth of experience in information and communications, business management, and corporate governance, etc.; she is also honest in character, as well as highly insightful and capable. She will contribute to the Company’s aims of ensuring appropriate decision-making from diverse perspectives in board meetings and further enhancing supervisory functions, and is thus judged to be qualified for the role of Outside Director of the Company and to be able to perform her duties properly in that position. For these reasons, she is appointed as the position of Outside Director. She is expected to draw on her experience and knowledge to fulfill the role of ensuring appropriate decision-making by the Board of Directors and further enhancing management supervisory functions.
Takashi Mitachi
since June 2022
Mr. Mitachi served in several key positions for many years at a major US consulting firm. Through these and other roles, Mr. Mitachi has accumulated wide-ranging knowledge and a wealth of experience in business management and enterprise risk management, etc.; he is also honest in character, as well as highly insightful and capable. He will contribute to the Company’s aims of ensuring appropriate decision-making from diverse perspectives in board meetings and further enhancing supervisory functions, and is thus judged to be qualified for the role of Outside Director of the Company and to be able to perform his duties properly in that position. For these reasons, he is appointed as the position of Outside Director. In addition, as Member of the Nomination and Remuneration Advisory Committee, he is also expected to contribute to further enhancing the independence, objectivity and transparency of the nomination and remuneration process for Director, Audit & Supervisory Board Member and executive management.

Standards for Appointment and Independence of Outside Directors and Outside Audit & Supervisory Board Members(PDF/94KB)

Improvement of Deliberation and Enhancement of Monitoring Function at the Board of Directors

We carefully select agenda items requiring discussion by the Board of Directors so that the Board of Directors can concentrate on the deliberation of important matters regarding the company-wide management such as the business policy and management plan. At the same time, we have increased the matters to be reported to the Board of Directors to make it possible for the Board of Directors to concentrate supervising execution of operation, so that the Board of Directors can enhance its monitoring function. With regard to important topics, moreover, we provide the opportunity for Directors to exchange opinions freely before the resolution.

In particular, important agenda items for the Board of Directors that should be taken up for more intensive discussion are set (agenda setting) by all Board members. In fiscal 2021, we focused on progress monitoring of the measures of “SHIFT 2023” such as the “Business Portfolio SHIFT” as well as the medium-term goals related to the six Key Social Issues as one of such agenda items. In addition, the Board received reports from each business unit on the state of progress of its strategies and any associated issues, and its response to those issues and carries out a discussion focusing on the relevant issues. The Board of Directors also received periodical reports from major committees (Internal Control Committee, Compliance Committee, IT Strategy Committee (which has been reformed from “Information Security Committee” in July 2021), etc.).

Through such measures, the Board of Directors continuously monitors the state of business execution across our group, thereby reinforcing its supervisory functions.

Separation of Duties between the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the President and Chief Executive Officer, and Limits on Their Terms of Office

In principle, the positions of Chairman of the Board of Directors and the President and Chief Executive Officer are clearly defined and separate in order to ensure mutual supervision, and both positions cannot be held simultaneously by the one person.
The role of the Chairman of the Board of Directors is to supervise the management of the Company; the Chairman has no involvement in day-to-day execution of operations and no authority to represent the Company.

In principle, the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the President and Chief Executive Officer are each limited to term of six years. This limitation on the tenure of top management helps eliminate the possibility of governance problems occurring as a result of the top management not being changed over for a long period of time.

Establishment of the Advisory Body to the Board of Directors

We established the Nomination and Remuneration Advisory Committee (chairperson: Outside Director). Functioning as an advisory body to the Board of Directors, more than half of the Committee members are Outside Directors. The Nomination and Remuneration Advisory Committee is in charge of deliberating on the following matters and will report the outcome of such deliberation to the board of directors:

  1. Policy and procedure for appointment and dismissal of the President and Chief Executive Officer
  2. Policy and procedure for appointment and dismissal of the Chairman of the Board of Directors
  3. Nomination criteria for directors and audit & supervisory board members
  4. Appointment and dismissal of the President and Chief Executive Officer (including nominating successors to the President and Chief Executive Officer)
  5. Nominations of candidates for directors and audit & supervisory board members (including deciding representative directors and executive directors)
  6. Appointment of members of the Management Council
  7. Structure and level of remuneration and bonuses for directors and executive officers, as well as limits for remuneration of audit & supervisory board members
  8. Advisor system

Evaluation of the Board of Directors

To maintain and enhance the effectiveness of the Board of Directors, each year Directors and Audit & Supervisory Board Members engage in analysis and evaluation of the Board of Director’s effectiveness through self-evaluation and other methods. This is followed by the disclosure of overviews of the results. As in fiscal 2020, the evaluation for fiscal 2021 included questionnaires (answered anonymously) and interviews conducted by a third party, to tie the evaluation results into efforts to further increase the Board of Directors’ effectiveness. The evaluation for fiscal 2021 and its results are summarized below. These were reported and discussed at the Board of Directors meetings held on February 24 and March 29, 2022. Based on the opinions expressed by Directors and Audit & Supervisory Board Members and issues identified on the effectiveness evaluation for fiscal 2021, we will continue to make efforts to further increase the effectiveness of the Board of Directors.

  1. Evaluation Methods
    1. Individuals Evaluated
      All 11 Directors and 5 Audit & Supervisory Board Members
    2. Implementation method
      Questionnaire survey (anonymous) and interviews conducted during the period from November 2021 to December 2021.
      Note: Implemented by a third party (external consultant).
    3. Evaluation Items
      (i) Selection of agenda items to be discussed by the Board of Directors,
      (ii) discussions based on changes in the external environments and business environments,
      (iii) adequate advance provision of information to members of the Board of Directors,
      (iv) discussion by the Board of Directors with adequate reflection of stakeholder’s perspectives and evaluations,
      (v) fulfillment of roles by Outside Directors,
      (vi) fulfillment of roles by the Chairman of the Board of Directors,
      (vii) fulfillment of roles by internal Directors (excluding Chairman of the Board of Directors),
      (viii) overall evaluation, etc.
    4. Evaluation process
      A third party (external consultant) collected questionnaires and interview responses. The results were reported to, and analyzed and evaluated at the Board of Directors.
  2. Evaluation Results Overview and corresponding actions
    Based on the analysis of the results of the questionnaires and interviews conducted by the third party (external consultant), the Board of Directors was found to be functioning effectively overall. On the whole, as stated below, a majority of opinions were positive.

    •In fiscal 2021, members of the Board of Directors paid careful thought to setting of agenda items as practiced since fiscal 2020, and this enabled them to carry out sufficient discussion on key management issues.
    •The management review for confirming progress on medium term management plan “SHIFT 2023” was ample in scope and content and easy to understand.
    •Members of the Board of Directors engaged in free and robust discussion at off-site meetings. They were also given ample prior explanations. Q&As and opinions heard on those occasions were presented at the Board of Directors meetings, helping to deepen their discussion from a wide range of perspectives.

    Based on the opinions and comments provided by Directors and Audit & Supervisory Board Members and associated issues in this evaluation, we will carry out the following actions to further strengthen and enhance our corporate governance.

    •In fiscal 2022, the Board of Directors will continue to monitor business execution through progress reviews of medium term management plan “SHIFT 2023” (reports on the state of progress in shifting the business portfolio and systems etc), reports on important large-scale investments, progress management of medium-term goals related to advancing sustainability management (six key social issues), reports on the status of efforts on DX (digital transformation) and report on the follow-up for the new human resources system, etc.
    •Strive to further enhance management strategy and policy discussions that take into account diverse stakeholder perspectives, including shareholders and investors.
    •Enhance efforts to further leverage the experience and insights of Outside Directors outside of the Board of Directors meetings.

Audit & Supervisory Board Members and the Audit & Supervisory Board

Enhancement of Auditing Capabilities

The Audit & Supervisory Board comprises five members: two Inside Fulltime Audit & Supervisory Board Members and three Outside Audit & Supervisory Board Members. Among the Outside Audit & Supervisory Board Member, one is a legal expert (a former Chief Justice of the Osaka High Court), one is a certified public accountant with considerable knowledge of finance and accounting, and the other is a fulltime Audit & Supervisory Board Member of a listed company and has an experience in business management. All of the Outside Audit & Supervisory Board Members satisfy the criteria on independence set by the financial instruments exchange that the Company is listed on as well as the Standard for Independence established by Sumitomo Corporation.

Ensuring Audit Effectiveness

Each Audit & Supervisory Board Member attends important meetings such as the Board of Directors Meeting, receives reports form Directors and employees, etc. regarding the execution of their duties, asks them for explanations as necessary, inspects important internal authorization documents and examines the status of operations and the financial status regarding the head office and important operating locations. As for subsidiaries, each Audit & Supervisory Board Member promotes communication and exchange of information with directors and audit & supervisory board members, etc. of subsidiaries, and receives reports on the subsidiaries’ business as necessary.

The Audit & Supervisory Board Members' Administration Department (four employees) is established as a specialized organization to support the work of the Audit & Supervisory Board Members. The Audit & Supervisory Board Members participate in personnel evaluations and transfers and so on regarding these employees to ensure their independence from the Board of Directors.

Collaboration between Internal Auditing Department and Accounting Auditors

To ensure audit efficiency, Audit & Supervisory Board Members interact closely with the Internal Auditing Department, receiving reports on internal audit plans and their results in a timely manner. In addition, Audit & Supervisory Board Members exchange information with and monitor the auditing activities of the accounting auditors through regular meetings. By attending audit review meetings and observing inventory audits by the accounting auditors, the Audit & Supervisory Board Members constantly work to improve audit efficiency and quality.

Training and Information Provision for Directors and Audit & Supervisory Board Members

On taking office, Outside Directors and Audit & Supervisory Board Members have the opportunity to receive a briefing on areas including the Sumitomo Corporation Group’s Management Principles, management policy, business activities, finances, organization, medium-term management plan, and risk management system. To enable Directors and Audit & Supervisory Board Members to acquire the necessary knowledge and update it as appropriate, we additionally provide access to resources including seminars and e-learning facilities, offering financial support to cover the necessary costs.

To deepen their understanding of “Sumitomo’s Business Philosophy”, Outside Directors and Audit & Supervisory Board Members visit Sumitomo-related facilities, in principle during the first fiscal year of their term of office. Outside Directors and Audit & Supervisory Board Members are also given the opportunity to make a group companies observation visit to a facility in Japan and to an overseas. Overseas group companies observation visits were suspended in FY2020 in light of the status of the spread of COVID-19.

Remuneration of Directors and Audit & Supervisory Board Members

Remuneration of Directors is resolved by the Board of Directors within the limit resolved at the General Meeting of Shareholders. Upon the resolution of the Board of Directors, the details are deliberated by the Nomination and Remuneration Advisory Committee, an advisory body of the Board of Directors a majority of whose members are Outside Directors, and the results thereof are reported to the Board of Directors as part of our efforts to further enhance transparency and objectivity.

The award of the performance-linked bonus to the individual corporate officers is decided through individual interview with the President, who reports the result to the Nomination and Remuneration Advisory Committee.

The remuneration, etc. of Audit & Supervisory Board Members is deliberated by the Nomination and Remuneration Advisory Committee, and the amount of remuneration to be paid to the respective Audit & Supervisory Board Members is determined based on consultation with the Audit & Supervisory Board Members, within the upper limit resolved at the General Meeting of Shareholders.

Overview of Executive Remuneration Plan

Internal Control System

The Company's Board of Directors resolved and implemented the systems set forth in the Companies Act, Article 362 of Paragraph 4, Item 6 (internal control system) to realize the high effectiveness of internal control of the Company. The Company will endeavor to establish a system in line with requests made from time to time based on ongoing reevaluations by reviewing the Company’s internal control implementation status each year.

Internal Control System (as of April 1, 2022)(PDF/226KB)

An overview of the Company’s internal control systems and their implementation status(PDF/227KB)

Internal Audits

The Internal Auditing Department, which reports directly to the President and Chief Executive Officer, is an independent organization that monitors the operations of the Group, and audits organizations and operating companies of the Group. As well as reporting the internal audit results directly to the President and Chief Executive Officer, in principle on a monthly basis, periodic reports are also made to the Board of Directors and the Audit & Supervisory Board. The department regularly conducts audits on all aspects of internal control, comprising asset and risk management, compliance and business operations. It evaluates the effectiveness and adequacy of the internal controls of auditees, taking into account the significance of the inherent risks. At the same time, it provides appropriate advice for improvements and expedites improvement and maintenance on the auditee’s own initiative, thereby contributing to the improvement of governance and internal controls within the Sumitomo Corporation Group.

Committees

Committees including Corporate Strategy Promotion Committee, Global Innovation Promotion Committee, Company Investment Committee, Internal Control Committee, Compliance Committee, Corporate Sustainability Committee, and IT Strategy Committee are established as advisory bodies for the Management Council with regard to specific matters that are important from the perspective of Sumitomo Corporation as a whole.

System for Ensuring Management Transparency

Basic Policy on Information Disclosure

To bring an accurate understanding of the Company's management policies and business activities to all our stakeholders, we shall strive to make full disclosure, not limiting ourselves to the disclosure of information required by law but also actively pursuing the voluntary disclosure of information.

Corporate Disclosure Policy

Communicating with Shareholders and Other Investors

Measures relating to the General Meeting of Shareholders

We send out a Notice of Convocation to shareholders approximately three weeks prior to each Ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders. For the convenience of shareholders, we also provide the notice on our corporate website in advance of sending a Notice of Convocation, together with its English-language translation. We allow shareholders and investors sufficient time to thoroughly examine the propositions to be resolved at the Meeting by enabling them to exercise their voting rights via internet (including through the Electronic Voting Platform for institutional investors operated by Investor Communication Japan, Inc. [ICJ]). In addition, we stream the General Meeting of Shareholders live for shareholders on internet and the streaming video of the meeting is posted on our website for a certain period after the close of the meeting. In 2022, we begin accepting questions from shareholders on internet prior to the General Meeting of Shareholders.

Disclosing Various Information

The IR section of our corporate website provides various materials that may be useful in making investment decisions in a timely manner. These materials include financial results, yukashoken houkokusho (Japanese annual securities reports) and other Tokyo Stock Exchange filings as well as documents from company briefings. Moreover, we provide our Integrated Report and ESG Communication Book, and endeavor to ensure proactive disclosure of not only financial information but non-financial information as well.

Investor Relations and Shareholder Relations(*)

In order to ensure direct communication with shareholders and other investors, we hold quarterly meetings attended by top management to provide information on our financial results for analysts and institutional investors in Japan, as well as one-on-one meetings with them. For individual investors, we hold company briefings at major cities across Japan. We continuously hold one-on-one meetings with investors mainly in the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe and Asia. Also, we ensure regular and constructive dialogue (engagement) with institutional shareholders who hold the Company’s shares substantially in Japan, Europe and North America. Such dialogue primarily addresses our initiatives and policies, etc. relating to ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) issues. While increasing management transparency, we aim to strengthen our relationships of trust with shareholders and investors.

(*) As fiscal 2020, all briefings and meetings were held online due to the spread of COVID-19 in fiscal 2021.

While working to improve and enhance our corporate governance structure and systems, from the perspectives of "improving management efficiency" and "maintaining sound management" by implementing the measures above, we will continue to further strengthen internal auditing, risk management, compliance, to further improve the effectiveness of internal control.

Status of Compliance with the Japan's Corporate Governance Code

The Company complies all Principles of the Corporate Governance Code. Please refer to Corporate Governance Report for details.

Corporate Governance Report (PDF/854KB)

Policy on Cross-shareholdings and Standards for Exercising Voting Rights

As a general rule, the Company will neither acquire nor hold shares in other listed companies for purposes other than pure investment.

However, the Company may decide to hold shares in listed companies in some exceptional cases when the Company determines that it is appropriate. For such determination, the Company will comprehensively assess and verify the capital cost of individual stocks and the economic rationality and significance of holding the stocks in light of the necessity of partnering or other business needs. Each year, the Board of Directors reviews whether or not the Company’s holding of listed shares is appropriate.

If such annual review concludes that specific shareholdings are of little significance, the Company will push ahead with the sale of the shares.

In FY 2021, the Company sold shares of 39 listed stocks (either in whole or in part), amounting to 38 billion yen in total. As of the end of March 2022, the Company’s shareholdings in listed companies cover 64 stocks, with the total balance of 218.2 billion yen.

When exercising voting rights, the Company examines various aspects through both quantitative and qualitative approaches in accordance with its own guidelines. Such examination focuses on whether each proposal presented to shareholders will lead to the enhancement of shareholder value and medium- to long-term corporate value of both the Company and the investee company. In this way, the Company tries to make adequate decisions as to whether to vote in favor of or against each proposal based on comprehensive judgments.

If an entity holding shares in the Company for purposes other than pure investment indicates its intention to sell the shares, the Company will, in principle, respect such intention, and the business relationship between the entity and the Company will not be affected.

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